H. Wesley Kenney

Director / Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly four-hour Archive interview, H. Wesley Kenney (1926-2015) speaks about his early interest in acting and his training at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He recounts his break into television as a director at the DuMont Television Network in the early 1950s, and describes the network and its studio spaces (at Wannamaker's department store, the Adelphi and Ambassador theaters, and later, the state-of-the-art Telecentre). Among the DuMont shows that Kenney discusses are: Morning Chapel (which covered three religions), Life Is Worth Living (featuring Bishop Fulton Sheen), Magic Cottage and Funny Bunny (popular children's shows) and Night Beat ( Mike Wallace's breakthrough interview show). He talks in great detail about one of DuMont's most popular series, Rocky King, Detective, starring Roscoe Karns. Kenney recalls working with Karns, the attention given to the art direction despite a limited budget and memorable gaffes on the "live" show. He chronicles his years working in daytime dramas, beginning with the fifteen-minute Modern Romances and continuing as a producer on the long-running soaps The Doctors, Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless and General Hospital. He speaks of the shift from the thirty-minute to hour-long soap opera, talks about his work with legendary soap writers Irna Phillips and William J. Bell, and discusses casting soaps. He then details his work as a director on the groundbreaking series All in the Family during the show's fifth season. Other shows he discusses include a closed circuit medical program demonstrating the Salk vaccine, the anthology series True Story, and the Emmy-winning A BC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline, We Love You. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview in North Hollywood, California on April 30, 2008.

"I was an average guy, who with great luck was able to be successful. I think that's as much as I can say. I love people. I love actors. I love doing the dramatic shows. So that's how I'd like to be remembered, working with terrific people, great talented people."

Highlights
H. Wesley Kenney on directing the pilot episode of The Jeffersons
01:10
H. Wesley Kenney on directing Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family
01:18
H. Wesley Kenney on his duties as director on the early DuMont Shows
02:22
H. Wesley Kenney on a technical foul-up during live broadcasts of Night Beat
05:30
H. Wesley Kenney on working with Betty Corday producing Days of Our Lives
03:36
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early acting career
17:59
On coming to work for the DuMont Network; on directing various DuMont shows
13:42
On directing Life Is Worth Living and Meet the Boss; on the technical innovations at DuMont
10:08
On directing closed-circuit medical programming; on hiring a female camera operator; on his duties as a DuMont director
17:42

Chapter 2

On directing actors; on various technical problems during live broadcasts; on directing Your Television Shopper and Funny Bunny
15:34
On directing Magic Cottage and Rocky King, Detective; on DuMont's broadcast facilities
16:19
On the end of the DuMont Network; on directing Modern Romances and True Story; on moving to Los Angeles
11:41
On directing The Doctors; on producing Days of Our Lives; on working with producer Betty Corday and writers Irna Phillips and William Bell
16:01

Chapter 3

On directing The Doctors; on working with the cast of Days of Our Lives
10:56
On a typical Days of Our Lives work week; on dealing with budgets as a producer of Days of Our Lives; on working with the writers of the show
16:33
On how Days of Our Lives storylines changed over the years; on dealing with Standards and Practices; on meeting his wife, Heather North; on Days of Our Lives switching to an hour-long format
20:51
On directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26

Chapter 4

On working with Norman Lear and Carroll O'Connor on All in the Family; on how he came to produce The Young and the Restless; on working with the cast of The Young and the Restless
15:19
On editing and post-production of his various shows; on producing General Hospital
14:39
On directing Miss Kline, We Love You and winning an Emmy; on his teaching career
11:14
On his proudest achievements; on how he'd like to be remembered; on his experience as a Broadway actor
09:22
Shows

ABC Afternoon Playbreak: "Miss Kline, We Love You"

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline We Love You, for which he won an Emmy
09:19

All in the Family

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26
H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and a typical work week with Norman Lear
02:24
H. Wesley Kenney on directing Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family
01:18
H. Wesley Kenney on leaving All in the Family and the legacy of the show
02:28
H. Wesley Kenney on editing various shows he produced and the differences between them
03:48

Captain Video and His Video Rangers

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H. Wesley Kenney on a technical foul-up during a live broadcast of Captain Video and His Video Rangers
02:12

Days of Our Lives

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H. Wesley Kenney on producing The Doctors and Days of Our Lives
06:07
H. Wesley Kenney on working with Betty Corday producing Days of Our Lives
03:36
H. Wesley Kenney on producing Days of Our Lives and working with creator/writer Irna Phillips and writer William Bell
04:13
H. Wesley Kenney on the ensemble cast of Days of Our Lives and casting the show
06:07
H. Wesley Kenney on a typical work week producing Days of Our Lives
08:23
H. Wesley Kenney on dealing with the budget as a producer of Days of Our Lives
03:43
H. Wesley Kenney on working with Days of Our Lives' writers William Bell and Ann Marcus
04:27
H. Wesley Kenney on the shift in the kinds of stories told on Days of Our Lives as time went on
01:59
H. Wesley Kenney on controversial Days of Our Lives storylines and dealing with Standards and Practices
03:37
H. Wesley Kenney on meeting his wife, Heather North, who appeared on Days of Our Lives while he was the producer
04:14
H. Wesley Kenney on Days of Our Lives and The Young and The Restless going from a half-hour to an hour-long format
11:02
H. Wesley Kenney on editing various shows he produced and the differences between them
03:48

Doctors, The

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H. Wesley Kenney on producing The Doctors and Days of Our Lives
06:07
H. Wesley Kenney on directing two actors in their final scene on The Doctors
04:48

Funny Bunny

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Your Television Shopper and Funny Bunny
02:28

General Hospital

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H. Wesley Kenney on how he came to produce General Hospital
04:56
H. Wesley Kenney on his experience producing General Hospital
05:55

Jeffersons, The

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing the pilot episode of The Jeffersons
01:10

Life Is Worth Living

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Life is Worth Living and Meet the Boss on the DuMont network
03:09

Magic Cottage

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Magic Cottage and Manhattan Spotlight
03:07
H. Wesley Kenney on directing Magic Cottage
01:25

Manhattan Spotlight

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Magic Cottage and Manhattan Spotlight
03:07

Meet the Boss

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Life is Worth Living and Meet the Boss on the DuMont network
03:09

Modern Romances

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Modern Romances and True Story
04:15

Morning Chapel

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Morning Chapel on the DuMont network and various other shows
04:10

Night Beat

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H. Wesley Kenney on a technical foul-up during live broadcasts of Night Beat
05:30

Rocky King, Detective

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Rocky King, Detective
01:29
H. Wesley Kenney on directing Roscoe Karns in Rocky King, Detective
11:51

True Story

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Modern Romances and True Story
04:15

Young and the Restless, The

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H. Wesley Kenney on how he came to produce The Young and the Restless
04:58
H. Wesley Kenney on working with the cast of The Young and the Restless
01:47
H. Wesley Kenney on editing various shows he produced and the differences between them
03:48

Your Television Shopper

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Your Television Shopper and Funny Bunny
02:28
Topics

Bloopers

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H. Wesley Kenney on a technical foul-up during live broadcasts of Night Beat
05:30
H. Wesley Kenney on a technical foul-up during a live broadcast of Captain Video and His Video Rangers
02:12

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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H. Wesley Kenney on controversial Days of Our Lives storylines and dealing with Standards and Practices
03:37

Diversity in Television

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H. Wesley Kenney on hiring a female camera operator
01:01

Emmy Awards

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline We Love You, for which he won an Emmy
09:19

Technological Innovation

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H. Wesley Kenney on the cameras used at DuMont and other technical aspects
02:43

Television Industry

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H. Wesley Kenney on controversial Days of Our Lives storylines and dealing with Standards and Practices
03:37

Women

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H. Wesley Kenney on hiring a female camera operator
01:01
Professions

Directors

View Profession
H. Wesley Kenney on his duties as director on the early DuMont Shows
02:22
H. Wesley Kenney on the importance of the placement of actors when directing for television
05:24
H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26
Genres

Comedy Series

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family
10:26
H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family
08:34

Daytime/Primetime Serials

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H. Wesley Kenney on producing Days of Our Lives
13:56
H. Wesley Kenney on producing Days of Our Lives
43:32
H. Wesley Kenney on producing The Young and the Restless
10:33
H. Wesley Kenney on producing General Hospital
11:51

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline We Love You
09:19
People

John Astin

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline We Love You, for which he won an Emmy
09:19

William Bell

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H. Wesley Kenney on producing Days of Our Lives and working with creator/writer Irna Phillips and writer William Bell
04:13
H. Wesley Kenney on working with Days of Our Lives' writers William Bell and Ann Marcus
04:27

Robert Clary

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H. Wesley Kenney on the ensemble cast of Days of Our Lives and casting the show
06:07

Betty Corday

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H. Wesley Kenney on working with Betty Corday producing Days of Our Lives
03:36

Patty Duke

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing ABC Afternoon Playbreak: Miss Kline We Love You, for which he won an Emmy
09:19

Susan Flannery

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H. Wesley Kenney on the ensemble cast of Days of Our Lives and casting the show
06:07

Bill Hayes

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H. Wesley Kenney on the ensemble cast of Days of Our Lives and casting the show
06:07

Roscoe Karns

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Roscoe Karns in Rocky King, Detective
11:51

Norman Lear

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and a typical work week with Norman Lear
02:24

Ann Marcus

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H. Wesley Kenney on working with Days of Our Lives' writers William Bell and Ann Marcus
04:27

Heather North

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H. Wesley Kenney on meeting his wife, Heather North who appeared on Days of Our Lives while he was the producer
04:14

Carroll O'Connor

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26
H. Wesley Kenney on directing Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family
01:18

Irna Phillips

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H. Wesley Kenney on producing Days of Our Lives and working with creator/writer Irna Phillips and writer William Bell
04:13

Rob Reiner

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26

Fulton J. Sheen

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing Life is Worth Living and Meet the Boss on the DuMont network
03:09

Jean Stapleton

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26

Sally Struthers

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H. Wesley Kenney on directing All in the Family and working with the cast
10:26

Mike Wallace

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H. Wesley Kenney on a technical foul-up during live broadcasts of Night Beat
05:30

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